Focus – Clean and Sober
By Lt. Colonel Mervyn Morelock –
“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” John 15:3 (KJV)
It was a strange kind of testimony. “I’m thankful that for the first time I can remember, I will be clean and sober this Christmas.” Of all the testimonies we have heard this year about God’s grace, none have been so poignant and moving as the expression, “clean and sober.” Said with a kind of awe and wonder by men and women who are spending Christmas at our recovery centers across the territory, it sums up some of the special blessings that ought to affect all of us at this season.
For most of us, the thought of being sober and clean on the Christmas holiday is nothing special. We take it for granted, along with so many things associated about Christmas: the trees and gifts, Santa, and toys, family, a holiday meal, the spirit of love, of being blessed. Even God’s gift of the baby Jesus comes as a something we know about and kind of take for granted.
Many men and women in our centers experienced the first Christmas they can even remember when life was not blurred by alcohol or drug abuse. So little is remembered about past holiday seasons. And so, this Christmas, when for the first time in some years they looked out at the world clean and sober, it was an amazing feeling!
One man recently said this was the first Christmas he could remember in his 28 years when he had been clean and sober. Growing up in a dysfunctional family, Christmas for him had been a time of arguments, brawls, drunken rage, and insults; being stoned on the latest drugs. The joys and blessing of Christmas were unknown, a mystery to him.
In centers around the territory the holidays were filled with activities, carol singing, gaily wrapped gifts, Christmas decorations and the spirit of love and warmth. The officers and staff gave so that all came to be exposed to the love of God and his wonderful plan of love and healing. For many, being clean and sober will be one of the blessed memories that will make this season a time of new beginning.
May we, for whom being clean and sober is no new thing, catch the wonder of God’s grace and mercy and love. But for God’s grace, we too might have been “clean and sober” for the first time this year! Let us be thankful and rejoice with those who have been redeemed and cleansed by God’s grace!